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SANS ISC: InfoSec Handlers Diary Blog - Internet Storm Center Diary 2018-06-06 InfoSec Handlers Diary Blog

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Converting PCAP Web Traffic to Apache Log

Published: 2018-06-06
Last Updated: 2018-06-06 06:26:38 UTC
by Xavier Mertens (Version: 1)
2 comment(s)

PCAP data can be really useful when you must investigate an incident but when the amount of PCAP files to analyse is counted in gigabytes, it may quickly become tricky to handle. Often, the first protocol to be analysed is HTTP because it remains a classic infection or communication vector used by malware. What if you could analyze HTTP connections like an Apache access log? This kind of log can be easily indexed/processed by many tools.

Haka[1] isn’t a new tool (the first version was released in 2013) but it remains below the radar for many people. Haka is defined as "an open source security-oriented language which allows to describe protocols and apply security policies on (live) captured traffic”. Based on the LUA[2] programming language, it is extremely powerful to extract information from network flows but also to alter them on the fly (playing a man-in-the-middle role). 

I had to analyze a lot of HTTP requests from big PCAP files and I decided to automate this boring task. I found on the Haka blog an article[3] that explained how to generate an Apache access log from a PCAP file. Unfortunately, it did not work anymore probably due to the evolution of the language. So, I jumped into the code to fix it (with some Google support of course).

Let’s start a docker container based on Ubuntu and install the latest Haka package:

$ docker run -it --name haka --hostname haka ubuntu
root@haka:~# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
root@haka:~# apt-get install libpcap0.8 # Required by Haka!
root@haka:~# curl
root@haka:~# dpkg -i haka_0.3.0_amd64.deb
root@haka:~# akapcap -h
Usage: hakapcap [options] <config> <pcapfile>
    -h,--help:              Display this information
    --version:              Display version information
    -d,--debug:             Display debug output
    -l,--loglevel <level>:  Set the log level
                              (debug, info, warning, error or fatal)
    -a,--alert-to <file>:   Redirect alerts to given file
    --debug-lua:            Activate lua debugging
    --dump-dissector-graph: Dump dissector internals (grammar and state machine) in file <name>.dot
    --no-pass-through, --pass-through:
                            Select pass-through mode (default: true)
    -o <output>:            Save result in a pcap file


Basically, Haka works with hooks that are called when a condition is matched. In our example, we collect traffic from interesting ports:


Then we created a hook that will trigger HTTP response detected in the PCAP files:

hook =,
    eval = function (http, response) {
        ... your code here ... 

The hook extracts information from the HTTP response to build an Apache log entry:

<clientip> - - [<date>] “<request> HTTP/<version>” <response> <size> “<referer>” "<useragent>”

Let’s try it with a PCAP file generated on a network:

$ docker cp test.pcap haka:/tmp
$ docker exec -it haka bash
root@haka:~# hakapcap http-dissector.lua /tmp/test.pcap | grep “GET /“ - - [05/Jun/2018:18:34:13 +0000] "GET /connecttest.txt HTTP/1.1" 200 10 "-" "Microsoft NCSI” - - [05/Jun/2018:18:34:14 +0000] "GET /session/...HTTP/1.1" 200 10 "-" "AppleCoreMedia/ (iPad; U; CPU OS 11_3 like Mac OS X; en_us)" - - [05/Jun/2018:18:34:19 +0000] "GET /session/...m3u8 HTTP/1.1" 200 10 "-" "AppleCoreMedia/ (iPad; U; CPU OS 11_3 like Mac OS X; en_us)" - - [05/Jun/2018:18:34:21 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 0 "-" "check_http/v1.4.16 (nagios-plugins 1.4.16)"

For now, the script returns a request size of ‘10’. It is hardcoded like usernames (default to "- -"). I’m still looking for a way to get the number of bytes per HTTP transaction. Also, you get only the client IP address and not the destination one. If you've improvement ideas, let me know!

My script compatible with Hack 0.3.0 is available on[4].


Xavier Mertens (@xme)
ISC Handler - Freelance Security Consultant

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